Mexicans at War Book Review
|Date of Review||February 2019||Title||Mexicans at War|
|Author||Santiago A. Flores||Publisher||Helion|
|Format||232 pages, softbound||MSRP (GBP)||£29.95|
Of Latin America's nations, only Brazil and Mexico dispatched expeditionary forces to fight beyond their borders during World War II.
Now Santiago A. Flores explores Mexicans at War: Mexican Military Aviation in the Second World War 1941-1945 – ninth in Helion's terrific "Latin America@War" range.
Perhaps Helion's heftiest "@ War" history yet, the 232-page, picture-packed opus sports hundreds of photos, 16 color profiles, several unit art plates, and three maps.
Mining archival and personal sources, Flores competently and chronologically chronicles all major developments, including political and economic factors behind actions.
Flores kick-starts coverage with an intensely illuminating chapter on Mexican military aviation before WWII. Seeking the fate of 22 Bellanca 28-90B "Flash" warplanes for the Spanish Republicans? Look here.
Text next turns to eight chapters on the war years. From Mexico's December 1941 mobilization and May 1942 declaration of war through anti-submarine and maritime escort missions to overseas deployment and postwar events, Flores tells the total tale.
Coastal patrols with Corsario Azcarates and Vought Kingfishers. Wartime operations with armed AT-6s at home. Combat with P-47Ds in the Phillipines.
And more. Aircraft acquisitions. Numbering systems. Training. Organization. Actions. Personnel. Air Force and Navy. Even daily chow, "Panchito Pistolas", and sunbathing WACS. Flores fuses all into one intensely informative effort.
Extended, explanatory captions further augment the account. And six appendices, chapter-by-chapter sources, and acknowledgments conclude contents.
Just ignore the typos – and oddly divided sentences. Imagine how converting embedded paragraph lists to tables would improve clarity and readability. Is that page 175 photo flipped or altered? And that's "José 'Zé' Carioca" – not "Pedro Carioca".
Still, what a terrific tome. With amazing revelations almost everywhere, I savored every page.
One last note …
Next time you visit the battleship USS Alabama memorial park, remember that Mexico donated the preserved Kingfisher there.
With thanks to Helion for the review copy!